Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Requiem for a Heavyweight

In the summer of 1986, NYPD officer Steven McDonald - working with his partner in Central Park investigating thefts of bicycles - was shot three times in the head and neck by a teenager as he questioned him.  McDonald survived the shooting but was left paralyzed from the neck down and respirator-dependent to breathe. 

Officer McDonald's wife, Patti Ann, was pregnant at the time.  Approximately three months later, Patti Ann gave birth to the couple's son, Conor. 

Steven McDonald was a die-hard fan of the New York Rangers.  And truth be told, it was his Rangers' allegiance - as much as his service to the people of New York - that introduced me to him. In the 1987-88 season, the Rangers introduced the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, which the fans vote on and which is awarded to the Ranger who goes above and beyond the normal call of duty. The Rangers have given the award every year since.  My favorite Ranger, Adam Graves, won it five times, which no other Ranger has equalled.  

Steven McDonald did not retire from the NYPD when he was shot in 1986.  In fact, he never retired from the NYPD.  He remained on the job, mentoring new recruits, lecturing at high schools, and sharing with the world his indomitable, unbreakable spirit.  He forgave the teenager who shot him and carried forward the message of "Faith and Forgiveness".  

And he carried forward the legacy of serving the people of the City of New York.  His son, Conor, who was born just months after his dad was injured in the line of duty, became the fourth generation of McDonald men to join the NYPD in 2010.  Last year, Conor McDonald was promoted to the rank of Detective. 

Steven McDonald, fifty-nine years old, suffered a massive heart attack at his home in Malverne, New York.  Yesterday, he died.  

From one member of Blueshirt Nation to another, thank you for your service, for your inspiration, and your example.  This world was a better place for you being in it.  May we all honor your memory by paying forward your example.  


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